Massachusetts Divorce Cases / Child Support
On this page we are compiling links to the full text of important Massachusetts Appellate Cases on Family Law and Divorce decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
These cases are for educational purpose only and should not be used for any official or legal purpose. Please consult official reports. Below you will be able to search for Massachusetts Appeals Court Slip Opinions and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Slip Opinions relating to Child Support.
Child Support Cases in Massachusetts
Ames v. Perry, 406 Mass. 236 (1989):
Upon petition by the wife to modify the separation agreement to provide additional support, the court was correct to deny the motion because the wife failed to demonstrate that there was “something more than a material change of circumstances” justifying the need for modification.
Bassette v. Bartolucci, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 732 (1995): Upon petition by mother to modify the father's child support obligations and the father's counterclaim for reduction in support obligation based on early retirement and pursuing a missionary in Jamaica which does not produce income, the court decided that the father's child support obligations will not be reduced because the earning capacity of a parent is considered rather than their actual income. "Personal fulfillment" is not considered a persuasive reason to reduce child support obligations because those reasons must be balanced against his existing obligations to his family. The presence or absence in bad faith is not a factor.
Benson v. Benson, 422 Mass. 698 (1996):
Boulter-Hedley v. Boulter, 429 Mass. 808 (1999): Mother filed a modification for an increase of child support. When the judge granted this, mother requested for the increase to be retroactive. Court decided that whether child support is retroactive is a decision within the discretion of the judge. The judge's discretion as to whether the modification can be retroactive is dependent of whether the retroactivity is contrary to the child's "best interests, unjust, or inappropriate." If the question of whether the judge abuses his discretion, the standard to determine abuse is whether the decision rests on "whimsy, caprice, or arbitrary or idiosyncratic notions."
Brady v. Brady, 8 Mass. App. Ct. 43 (1979): Both wife and husband appeal an order in which the trial court ordered that any amount of child support or alimony not paid by the husband would be accumulated and were to attach quasi in rem to the husband's interest in the parties' marital domicile, owned by them as tenants by the entirety. Appellate court decided that trial court exceeded its authority in ordering that future unpaid amount of alimony and child support were to be applied against husband's interest in marital home to secure any amounts advanced by Department of Public Welfare.
Braun v. Braun,
68 Mass. App. Ct. 846 (2007): Order requiring parents to share equally in the college expenses of the minor child was found invalid because the children were still young and absent special circumstances, it was premature to make this determination.
Brooks v. Piela,
61 Mass. App. Ct. 731 (2004): In a modification action for child support the probate judge did not abuse her discretion by considering the non-custodial parent’s enhanced income and the disparity of the standard of living in each household, where the judge considered the children’s needs and stipulated evidence that the children’s ages and their increased expenses justified an increase in child support.
Broome v. Broome, 40 Mass. App. Ct. 148 (1996): Father sought to cease child support payments and wanted some of his payments he made on behalf of his daughter returned to him, alleging that his daughter had become emancipated. Superior Court entered a default judgment for father because mother failed to timely respond to interrogatories and denied mother's motion for relief from default judgment. Mother was pro se. Appeals Court decided that Superior Court abused their discretion, stating that granting relief from judgment should favor resolution of disputes on their merits rather than upon technical procedural grounds, especially when procedural failure involves ancillary aspect of the case.
Cabot v. Cabot, 55 Mass. App. Ct. 756 (2002): Mother seeks to be reimbursed from father due to paying for college expenses of both children. Original divorce agreement only discussed education costs up to high school and did not anticipate that both children would be attending college. Appeals Court concluded that father was obligated to reimburse mother for loans she assumed to help pay for the children's college expenses. It was within the judge's discretion to obligate the father to pay for college expenses retroactively. Furthermore, when a separation agreement does not mention post-high school education expenses, it is within the judge's discretion to determine whether there has been a material change in the parties' circumstances, warranting modification of divorce judgment, even if the matters regarding child support were considered a surviving agreement. Any ongoing obligations of the parties arising from their former marriage and their relationship as parents are not subject to the modification agreement but continued to be governed by provisions in the original divorce agreement.
Canning v. Juskalian,
33 Mass. App. Ct. 202 (1991): Court held that earning capacity instead of the parties actual income should be considered in determining child support. Also excessive and expensive travel expenses can be considered in a support order even though it is outside of the scope of the child support guidelines.
Child Support Enforcement Division of Alaska v. Brenckle, 424 Mass. 214 (1997):
Clark v. Barba,
37 Mass. App. Ct. 322 (1994): Probate court has jurisdiction to modify a child support order even after the death of one of one of the spouses.
Croak v. Bergeron,
67 Mass. App. Ct. 750 (2006): Court can deny request for modification of a child support order where the requesting party has voluntarily remained unemployed. That party will not receive a reduction in support obligations. Also, the Husband’s IRA could be treated as income and divisible property where the Husband used the IRA funds as replacement for earnings and for his own support while he was unemployed. Not treating the IRA as income would be inequitable.
Crowe v. Fong,
45 Mass. App. Ct. 673 (1998): The court can modify a child support order upon a showing of a discrepancy of 20% or more between an established order and a proposed new order calculated under the child support guidelines. However, when the discrepancy is the result of a separation agreement of the parties then the party seeking the modification must show a material change in circumstances.
Cummings v. Lamoureux, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 506 (2012):
A mother sought a contempt order and modification order from the court in that the divorce judgment ordered the father to pay child support based on his yearly salary and 25% of his yearly bonuses. The father had moved companies and started to receive discretionary bonuses that were not actually part of his yearly bonuses, and the mother claimed that these were included in the divorce judgment. The probate court found that the judgment only intended to include yearly bonuses and thus could not be considered part of the judgment. However, the probate court did note that such a change constituted a material change in circumstances and thus his base salary payments needed to be modified to reflect this. The appeals court agreed with the probate court's findings and found the term "yearly bonus" to be perfectly clear as to not include other bonuses or commissions.
Davis vs. Misiano, 373 Mass. 261 (1977):
D´Avella v. McGonigle, 429 Mass. 820 (1999): Court denied father's request to abate the arrearage of child support retroactively due to the fact that he was incarcerated for 7 years. Impossibility does not provide an exception to statutory prohibition against retroactive modification of child support obligations. Furthermore, even if impossibility provided an exception to statutory prohibition, father failed to show that it would have been impossible for him to pursue complaint for modification due to his incarceration because he was aware of child support obligations before being incarcerated and only made an effort to modify 6 months after he was released.
DeCristofaro v. DeCristofaro, 24 Mass. App. Ct. 231 (1987): Where parties intend a separation agreement to survive the divorce judgment, it will continue to exist as an independent enforceable agreement even if the language in the divorce judgment provided that "agreement be incorporated and merged in judgment of divorce nisi."
Department of Revenue vs. C.M.J. 432 Mass. 69 (2000):
Department of Revenue v. Mason M., 439 Mass. 665 (2003):
Department of Revenue v. Foss, 45 Mass. App. Ct. 452 (1998): A modification of a child support order, which increased the father's support obligation but deviated substantially from the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, was not supported by sufficient reasons or specific findings to have warranted a departure from the guidelines; the judgment of modification was vacated. In a proceeding for modification of a child support order, the Probate Court judge did not abuse his discretion in declining to make the increased support order retroactive to the date of service of the complaint, where the evidence did not support the mother's claim that the father deliberately delayed the proceedings in order to avoid an increased support obligation, nor did the judge abuse his discretion in ordering the parties to alternately claim the dependent child tax exemption.
Department of Revenue v. Roe (1) , 29 Mass. App. Ct. 967 (1990): In paternity cases, pursuant to M.G.L.A. c. 209C, § 9, courts have the authority to order retroactive child support for this period from the birth of the child to the entry of the order. Also, the father of a child born out of wedlock does have standing to challenge the order.
Department of Revenue v. Roe (2), 31 Mass. App. Ct. 924 (1991): In paternity cases, pursuant to M.G.L.A. c. 209C, § 9, courts have the authority to order retroactive child support for this period from the birth of the child to the entry of the order. Retroactive payments can be imposed for period preceding the effective date of the statute and are not in violation of ex post facto laws.
Department of Revenue v. G.W.A, 412 Mass. 435 (1992): Where a judge determines based on the child support guidelines, an amount that would not be just or is inappropriately high, the judge can in his discretion, reduce the support to an amount that is equitable.
Donovan v. Donovan, 15 Mass.App.Ct 61 (1982): Worker's compensation benefits can be assigned for payment of alimony and child support.
Draper v. Burke, 450 Mass. 676 (2008): Once one court enters a child support order, no other court may modify that order as long as the obligee, obligor, or child continues to reside within the jurisdiction that executed the order, unless each party consents in writing to another jurisdiction.
Eccleston v. Bankosky, 438 Mass. 428 (2003): The court concluded that a Probate Court judge lacked authority to order a divorced father to pay support after a child's eighteenth birthday to a third party appointed as his child's guardian and with whom his child was domiciled. The court concluded that a Probate Court judge had the authority pursuant to equity powers vested by the Legislature to impose a postminority support order on a child's financially able noncustodial parent or parents, insofar as the child was found not to be emancipated.
Flaherty v. Flaherty, 40 Mass. App. Ct. 289 (1996): Child support order cannot be based on father's full time income where he was laid-off shortly before the divorce trial and was unemployed at the time of trial provided there is no evidence that the father's change in job status was voluntary.
Frost-Stuart v. Stuart Docket, No. 15-P-100 (2016):
Gravlin v. Gravlin, 89 Mass. App. Ct. 363 (2016):
Gray v. Commissioner of Revenue, 422 Mass. 666 (1996):
Gridley v. Beausoleil, 16 Mass. App. Ct. 1005 (1983):
Halpern v. Rabb,
75 Mass. App. Ct. 331 (2009): Wife filed contempt against husband for failing to pay child support obligation. Court held that the pass-through income of a corporation could not be included in the husband’s income in the case where the husband did not retain the income. However in this case, the Appeals court held that there were insufficient findings to know whether the husband retained the pass-through income. Case was remanded in part to determine these facts.
Hamilton v. Pappalardo, 42 Mass. App. Ct. 471 (1997): Support of child with special needs creates a special circumstance where the separation agreement need only mention the anticipation, rather than the specific needs for the child. Upon such an instance, where modification of an agreement is sought to increase support for a child with special needs, the court will enforce the original agreement but the decision will also be determined by considerations of equity and fairness to be setting in an equitable jurisdiction.
Hartog v. Hartog, 27 Mass. App. Ct. 124 (1989): In a complaint for modification, one of the parties' four children had developed a mental illness since the divorce judgment, and the youngest child, age nine, appeared to be at risk of developing the same disorder. The wife had been allowed the exclusive right to occupy the marital home for two years but the period was now extended an additional eight years. This provision was construed as one for child support, and a material change in circumstances required such a modification in the best interest of the parties' nine year old child living with the mother.
J.C. v. E.M., 36 Mass. App. Ct. 446 (1994):
Katzman v. Healy,
77 Mass. App. Ct. 589 (2010): The court did not err in retroactively applying the increase to child support to the date of the notice of filing for modification because the parties, through a separation agreement, agreed that child support would be revisited every three years. Therefore, the court was correct in only retroactively applying the modification order back three years. Increasing the husband’s support obligation was not an abuse of discretion because the parties agreed to re-evaluate the support order every three years and in the last three, the husband’s income more than doubled.
K.B. v. D.B., 37 Mass. App. Ct. 265 (1994): A husband had voluntarily supported a child, born to his wife during their marriage but fathered by another man, prior to learning conclusively that he was not the father. The judge did not err in concluding that the husband was not estopped to raise the defense of nonpaternity.
Kirwood v. Kirwood, 27 Mass. App. Ct. 1156 (1989): To continue to receive child support after a child turns 18, there must be evidence that the child is primarily dependant for maintenance from the parent. Where the supportor is paying for the child's college tuition and room and board at school, that child is not dependant for maintenance from the supportee parent.
Labrecque v. Parsons, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 766 (2009):
Langerman v. Langerman, 9 Mass. App. Ct. 869 (1980): Where neither party in their divorce action, introduced any evidence regarding the effect of inflation or income taxes would have on the alimony or child support award, the trial judge is not required to consider such consequences and cannot be held in error.
Larson v. Larson, 28 Mass. App. Ct. 338 (1990): Parent who is order to pay support to the other parent for the care of their child, the obligor parent cannot arbitrarily reduce alimony and support payments once the child turns 18 years old, rather he must seek a modification of the order. Where the length of the term for support is in doubt because of the language in the agreement, the court will place itself in the position of the parties and will examine the subject matter of the agreement and will attempt to ascertain the object that was intended by the parties.
Leonardo v. Leonardo, 40 Mass. App. Ct. 572 (1996): A probate judge ordered the husband to pay a certain amount per week in child support for the care and maintenance of his five minor children that was more than the amount calculated under the child support guidelines.
L.J.S. v. J.E.S., DOCKET SJC-11093 (2013): The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order denying husband's motion to alter the divorce judgment with respect to alimony and remanded. The trial court should have considered the uncertainty of the husband's potential tax consequences due to the alimony provisions in the divorce judgment.
Lombardi v. Lombardi, 68 Mass. App. Ct. 407 (2007): Wife filed a complaint seeking to recover from husband's arrears in past alimony and child support payments. Husband argues that the court lacks personal jurisdiction to enforce child support because the husband moved to New York. The Appeals Court decided that a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident who is an obligor under a court order for child support or maintenance (assuming that he had previously been subject to that court's jurisdiction). Based on G.L. c. 199A, §13(a), child support orders are to remain enforceable for the purpose of collecting delinquent amounts notwithstanding that the order has expired because the child has attained majority. The husband's subsequent and lengthy voluntary departure from the Commonwealth neither attenuates nor eradicates the substantiality of his contacts and obligations with Massachusetts.
LoStracco v. LoStracco, 32 Mass. App. Ct. 1 (1992): Child support provisions allowed the wife to have the use and occupancy of the marital home, but required that the home be sold in the event of her remarriage and the proceeds divided between the parties. The court concluded that the condition requiring sale of the house could not stand in view of the judge's stated objective of providing stability of the home environment of the parties' children; the issue of sale was to be left to modification proceedings should a change in the parties' circumstances occur.
L.W.K. v. E.R.C, 432 Mass. 438 (2000): Child support case involving the obligor's death. The court concluded that a child support order should be modified to credit to the father's estate, now the obligor, the amount of Social Security death benefits that the child, as a qualified minor, was entitled to receive based on the father's participation in the Social Security system. A judge in the Probate and Family Court did not have authority to enter an order to secure postminority educational support by setting aside a lump sum in trust from the estate of the child's deceased father, where the child did not presently qualify for such support.
Mandel v. Mandel, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 348 (2009): The court found that in the absence of a mutually agreed-upon choice of college and plan for payment, the parties’ agreement reflected their commitment to each pay fifty percent of their daughter’s reasonable college expenses. The court remanded to determine the amount of reasonable college expenses.
Martin v. Martin, 70 Mass. App. Ct. 547 (2007): The Supplemental Security Insurance benefits that a disabled child receives shall not be included in a determination of child support obligation for any other child.
M.C. v. T.K., 463 Mass. 226 (2012):
Morales v. Morales, 464 Mass. 507 (2013): The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the trial judge erred in denying mother's modification complaint regarding child support based on a standard of material and substantial change in circumstances. The appropriate standard for a modification of child support, as proscribed by G. L. c. 208, §28, is whether "there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result form application of the child support guidelines."
Murray v. Super, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 146 (2015):
Naranjo v. Departement of Revenue, 63 Mass. App. Ct. 260 (2005): The father filed a complaint in Superior Court for declarations that the Department of Revenue (DOR) was required to provide hearings and administrative review before trying to suspend his driver's and trade licenses for failure to pay child support. The DOR's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was granted and the father appealed. The court vacated the dismissal of the complaint, reasoning that the Superior Court had the authority to make determinations regarding the legality of administrative practices and procedures. The court also rejected the DOR's assertions that the father lacked standing, the statute of limitations had run, and the father did not submit sufficient documentation.
Naranjo v. Naranjo, 63 Mass. App. Ct. 256 (2005): Judgment which incorporated agreement between the parties that the father owed no past child support because he was incarcerated thus unemployed, was held to be a proper retroactive modification.
Okoli v. Okoli (No. 1), 81 Mass. App. Ct. 371 (2012):
A father claimed that he did not consent to the establishment of his parental rights when he consented to his separated wife receiving In Vitro Fertilization. The father claimed he only consented to his wife's procedure, not to the parental rights over any children resulting from such procedure. Moreover, although he did not raise this at trial, on appeal he claimed that he was under duress when he signed such consent agreements as his wife tried to use his green card status as leverage against him. The appeals court upheld the findings of the probate court, stating that consent to create a child is the truly determinative factor in artificial insemination situations: subjective intent of the parent does not take priority. When a husband consents to an IVF procedure, knowing that child may result from such procedure, parental rights will attach as well. The father's claim of duress was not properly briefed and outlined at trial and thus not taken up on appeal.
Okoli v. Okoli (No. 2), 81 Mass. App. Ct. 381 (2012): The father from Okoli v. Okoli, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 371 (2012) challenged that decision regarding his parental obligations stemming from his consenting to his wife's In Vitro Fertilization. The further sued the mother for breach of contract, duress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and deceit, and conspiracy. The court only allowed his claim regarding fraud to proceed because this allegation, that he relied on the mother's material misrepresentations which induced him to consent to the IVF, centers on the very foundation of his consent to the artificial insemination. This claim was remanded back to the probate court for a finding on the matter, although the probate court was directed that if it did find for the husband, it could not dip into the child support payments for damages.
O’Meara v. Doherty, 53. Mass. App. Ct. 599 (2002): The wife was not estopped from seeking child support 17 years after the child was born out of wedlock and after the father had married another woman. The fact that the wife waited 17 years for support would be considered in determining past accrued support, especially because the father was unaware of the his paternity.
Pearson v. Pearson, 52 Mass. App. Ct. 156 (2001):
Passemato v. Passemato, 427 Mass. 52 (1998): Generally support orders regarding future payment of post-high school education costs should not be made in connection with a divorce action. The court has narrow discretion when deemed appropriate to create a trust fund for children's future post-high school education. Typically available where both parties express concern for post-high school education and where there is evidence of reckless economic and social behavior of the part of either or both parents.
Pemberton v. Pemberton, 9 Mass. App. Ct. 9 (1980):
Poras v. Pauling,
70 Mass. App. Ct. 535 (2007): Wife filed contempt against husband for failure to pay child support obligation. Court found that husband was “presently unable to pay the arrears” and that the judgment in the contempt action contained no provision for attorney fees and expenses. The court held that to find a person in civil contempt, the court must be able to find that the defendant had the ability to pay at the time the contempt judgment was entered.
Quinn v. Quinn, 49 Mass. App. Ct. 144 (2000):
Richards v. Mason, 54 Mass. App. Ct. 568, 572 (2002): The mother appealed two orders, child support order and an order dealing with the child's name. The mother sough modification of the father's child support order and the judge declined to provide it, despite some changes in the mother's and child's living circumstances. Furthermore, the probate court stated that the child should maintain the surname of the biological father instead of the step-father with whom the mother had started a new family. The appeals court examined the factual history of the child, considering facts such as the child living with the step-father since the age of two and the biological father consistently providing timely child support payments and attempting to maintain a relationship with the son. The appeals court decided that the probate court did not consider the best interests of the child when deciding the child's surname and also did not make the determination as to whether the child was sufficiently mature to decide for himself. The modification of the child support order was denied and the child's surname claim was remanded for the probate court's decision.
Richardson v. Department of Revenue, 423 Mass. 378 (1996): A person who voluntarily acknowledges his paternity, and agrees to pay child support is not entitled to recover child support payments when it was determined that he was not the father nine (9) years later.
Rosenberg v. Merida, 428 Mass. 182 (1998): Where a noncustodial parent receives Social Security disability income (SSDI) dependency benefits, under the Massachusetts child support guidelines that amount is attributable as income to that parent for computation of child support, and that parent is then entitled to a dollar-for-dollar credit equal to the amount of the SSDI dependency benefits against the support obligation; however, a parent, in order to apply the credit, must file a complaint for modification of the child support obligation or otherwise seek approval of a judge. in this case the judge made no findings relating to the amount of the support obligation or relating to his award of sole legal custody of the minor child to the mother. Case was remanded. The assets of the father were attached in the amount of $60,000, to secure his child support obligation and for potential contribution to the minor child's college education expenses.
Ruml v. Ruml, 50 Mass. App. Ct. 500 (2000): The Husband was properly held in contempt for failure to pay child support obligation where the Husband had claimed he was unable to get work because he intentionally restricted his job search to low-income jobs out of state.
Saia v. Saia, 58 Mass. App. Ct. 135 (2003):
Salten v. Ackerman, Docket 4-P-1458 (2005): The husband appealed from a divorce judgment regarding the amount of child support, award of counsel fees to the wife, and division of marital assets. The husband claimed the trial judge did not make findings as to his current income and that he was being punished for bad investments. The court affirmed the judgment reasoning that the husband had an obligation to provide adequate financial information, and the judge did not abuse their broad discretion in the division of assets or award of fees based on the husband's conduct.
Salvesen vs. Salvesen, 370 Mass. 608 (1976):
Santagate v. Tower, 64 Mass. App. Ct. 324 (2005): The mother filed a modification on a 30 year old divorce decree to obtain child support because the father had abandoned the mother and 3 minor children for the last 27 years. The court awarded the wife restitution from the father for the moneys that she solely provided for the children while they were minors.
Schmidt v. McCulloch-Schmidt - 86 Mass. App. Ct. 902 (2014):
Schuler v. Schuler, 382 Mass. 366 (1981): The husband filed a Complaint for Modification to reduce his support obligations because he had a substantial reduction in income. The Court refused to reduce his support payments because with the exception of one job interview, he was not attempting to obtain other employment. Therefore the court held that this voluntary under/unemployment was not "a material change in circumstances" sufficient for modification of support.
Silvia v. Silvia, 9 Mass.App.Ct 339 (1980): The income or assets of a second spouse can be considered by the court in awarding child support because the existence of these assets or income effects the ability of parents to use their own resources to pay child support.
Smith v. Edelman, 68 Mass. App. Ct. 549 (2007): Increase in the Husband's income after the divorce judgment was not sufficient to warrant a modification in the support order because the Husband's increase in income did not result is a material disparity in the standard of living of the two different households.
Smith-Clarke v. Clarke, 44 Mass. App. Ct. 404 (1998):
Steeves v. Berit, 64 Mass. App. Ct. 265 (2005): The husband filed a complaint for civil contempt, alleging that the wife failed to tell him that their child had dropped out of college, thus emancipated and no longer eligible for child support. The husband sought reimbursement all child support payments he had made after the child dropped out of college. The court held that the child was not emancipated within the meaning of the term that the parties had agreed to and that the wife was not in contempt.
Stolk v. Stolk,
31 Mass. App. Ct. 903 (1991): *No longer good law, see Kauffman v. Kauffman, 31 Mass. App. Ct. 903 (1991)* Where a child resides in Massachusetts and his parents’ were divorce in another state, Massachusetts court has the power to make a judgment with regard to support of that minor child and can authorize support and payment of college education even if the other states law does not require such support.
Tatar v. Schuker, 70 Mass. App. Ct. 436 (2007): The wife filed a civil contempt against the husband for failure to make his child support payments after the parties divorce. The court held that the father was required to pay child support for the parties' son until he was emancipated, but that he could not be held in contempt of court for nonpayment of child support.
Tatar v. Schuker, 31 Mass. App. Ct. 534 (1991): The court can within its discretion transfer the marital home to the wife and postpone the husband’s payment of his share of the value of the marital home while the parties unemancipated child lives there.
Taverna v. Pizzi, 430 Mass. 882 (2000): Once a complaint for paternity is dismissed, a trial court judge may order child support (and retroactive support) as a modification of a divorce order. However, an order to vacate the parties’ separation agreement was improper where the agreement is complete and expressly provides that it would not merge into the divorce judgment and was forever binding on the parties.
Ulin v. Polansky, DOCKET 11-P-1450 (2013):
Vaida v. Vaida, Docket: 13-P-1827 (2014):
Whelan v. Whelan, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 616 (2009):
White v. Laingor, 434 Mass. 64 (2001): An agreement that the mother will accept a reduced lump-sum payment for child support arrearages in exchange for the father's consent to adoption of the children by her new husband is unenforceable as a violation of public policy. Such an agreement requires a determination of the court as to what is in the best interest of the children.